The CMO Audit and Subsequent Growth Plan: A Guide

February 10, 2017

The CMO Marketing Effectiveness Review: How to Best Prioritize Initiatives

February 10, 2017 Marcy Strauss Axelrod




Every CMO must take stock of where their organization is and make decisions about what’s most important for the future. This can be an overwhelming process, with priorities coming from business units, IT, customer service, and the executive team, among others.

A solid fact base is needed to make defensible decisions, since the trade-offs always favor some and disfavor others.

How should a CMO develop such a fact base? A REAL understanding of the current state of affairs?

3Q Digital has developed and tested a process for getting quantitative and qualitative feedback from all groups within marketing, and as many outside groups as desired. We focus on a consistent set of questions that enable prioritization across teams, allowing the most urgent-to-improve areas to rise to the top.

Our clients are consistently impressed with the quality of results.

How do we do it?

  • First – We get the facts!
  • Second – We develop actionable recommendations.
  • Third – With the client’s leadership team, we agree on the likely impact of each recommendation.

The result? A prioritized roadmap of the most impactful projects that everyone agrees on and supports.

What’s the secret sauce?

  • We focus on six Marketing Growth Drivers:
    • Customer Understanding
    • Analytics
    • User Experience
    • Devices
    • Media
    • Technology
  • The questions asked get at the foundation of a high-performing marketing organization.

 Beyond that, it’s well structured, simple, and covers what matters.

6 Marketing Growth Drivers from the CMO Audit


For each Growth Driver, we ask about:

  1. The urgency to improve, and the maturity of the driver
  2. The decisions, goals, roadmaps, and resources for each growth driver

The structure for the survey looks like this:


Urgency, Maturity and Proficiency from the CMO Audit


For a given growth driver, such as customer understanding, the specific questions asked and results look like this:


Question Data from the CMO Audit


Clients send the short survey to most groups within marketing and can include sales, customer service, business development, and other relevant teams.

Prioritized recommendations for the executive workshop are based on the full, quantitative fact base of respondents, as well as judgments of expected impact:


Prioritization from the CMO Audit


Now CMOs can feel secure they have taken stock of the current state, have asked the tough questions, and have a solid plan for growth.

Check out 3Q Digital’s approach to strategy and innovation to learn more.